CAT | weight loss
Regardless of whether you are trying to lose weight or simply maintain a healthy body weight, the topic of calories has likely come up a time or two. And although current research points to the importance of calorie quality over calorie quantity, it may not make a bean hill of difference when it comes to your brain.
As it turns out, our brains may be craving high-calorie foods even when we don’t know it. Scientists at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital in Canada asked about 30 people to take part in a unique study—one in which they were asked to look at 50 images of different types of food and estimate their calorie content, as well as rate how well they liked them.
After viewing the images, study participants were asked to bid on each food item in a mock auction so that researchers could determine how much they wanted it. Interestingly, while their estimated calorie counts were incorrect the majority of the time, it seems their brains were one step ahead.
The more calories a particular food had, the more the participants were willing to pay for it—indicating their brains had no trouble picking out the high-calorie items. In fact, when high-calorie foods appeared, MRI scans showed increased activity in the areas of the brain that process the taste and sensory properties of food. Basically, your brain is evaluating the calorie content of your next meal even if you are unaware of it.
Scientists believe this insight into why people choose certain foods may help determine the factors that lead to obesity and related conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.
More than 29 million people in the United States (or nearly 10% of the total population) have diabetes—a term given to a group of diseases marked by high blood sugar and abnormal production and/or function of the hormone insulin.
Because diabetics have an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and even premature death, organizations like the American Diabetes Association (ADA) strive to help raise awareness about who it affects and why. American Diabetes Month®, celebrated each November, is an important part of their efforts.
The theme this year—America Gets Cooking℠ to Stop Diabetes®—focuses on inspiring people to eat (and cook) healthier foods and to stay active throughout the year. Events will take place throughout the month to help bring people together in an effort to learn more about the link between a healthy lifestyle and diabetes prevention, and on their website the ADA will spotlight ideas and activities for families and individuals.
Want to know more? View previous blogs for additional information
and tips on diabetes prevention and management:
Review: Diet Critical to Type 2 Diabetes Prevention and Control (includes 5 simple tips for improving diet quality!)
Kids & Diabetes Study, Plus 4 Tips for Parents (hint: your children are counting on YOU to set the example)
New Study Shows Nuts are Good for Your Heart, Blood Sugar (and other reasons why you should add a handful of nuts to your daily diet)
Study: Obese Preschoolers at Risk for Health Problems Earlier in Adulthood (and yes, that includes diabetes)
High Blood Sugar Not a Problem? Think Again. (this eye-opening infographic says it all!)